Friday, May 18, 2012

Are Gamers Just Becoming Their Worst Enemies?

This video, who make the rounds in the Internet yesterday, generated a surprising amount of controversy. I got shocked with the great number of people stating their dislike for it. It was funny to see it, because most of their complaining made me feel like I watched a completely different video from them.

What I saw is a parody about the utterly ridiculousness of game's collectors editions, who can sum up hundreds of dollars in several plastic and paper things. They also mocked the typical gamer stereotype, of the guy who cannot keep their fantasies under control to the point even other games feel disgusted by him (and even the 'android' Juliet) and have a funny jab at the end.

What a great number of people saw is an offensive video objectifying women, while perpetuating the 'horny gamer' stereotype, selling the game with the sex and not showing gameplay and being utterly unfunny. While I respect everyone right to have an opinion, most of those opinions seems completely off-based to me.

The first thing I must say is yes, I am a man. So, of course I will not find some of the things women find offensive in this game. But as I stated before, this game seems to me to be a parody of old horror/slasher movies, like Fryday 13th or Piranhas. Both those movies have a lot of nudity, sex and gore. And many of them have a pretty girl as the main character. I feel that Lollipop Chainsaw is a mockery at this genre of movies. And I am very excited to play this game.

Juliet, the main protagonist, is a parody of those women in slasher movies. she is the pretty cheerleader, but instead of being running away from the monsters, she is the one hunting them. She is not there to be saved and is the one who is saving the day. While I agree that she is one more scantily clad female character, which we have too many already, in order to her work as a parody I think she must be like that. And every Suda 51 game do not shy away from sex. Even people saying how No more Heroes is not about sex, there is plenty of sexual themes and women showing their assets.

About the video perpetuating an stereotype, I think they portrayed three normal guys who are also gamers, not the typical nerd under mama's basement kind. The one gamer who make all the sexual remarks are in fact such an exaggeration that is hard to take him seriously. And all his gamers friends got disgusted with his attitude, as most gamers would. And if you think his talking is not how true gamers behave, you must see my Twitter feed. There is a lot of sex talk, usually in the guise of jokes.

The third problem many people pointed is the lack of gameplay in this video. Except this video is just a promotional video, made to the people who are waiting the launch to laugh for a few moments. It is marketing, not all videos need to have gameplay. But many accused the publishers to not use gameplay to sell the game. Well, let's see if I can find some gameplay videos. It must be very hard.

Oh, look, in under three minutes I found five different trailers with gameplay on it! I must be a magician! In fact, most trailers for this game have at least a few scenes with gameplay elements. People sayin that there is no gameplay videos apparently aren't looking for them.

The last thing people say is that the video is not funny. Well, that is OK, in fact. Not everyone laugh at the same things. So I think people who just thought the video wasn't funny are OK.

The thing is that I feel that there is a lot of gamers 'white knighting' here. Many tries to act like they are supporters of women's rights by attacking the game use of sex and the female form, in hope to make themselves look cool and above the 'horny male gamer' stereotype. It is not that they really believe in their own words, they just want to be the 'cool gamers'.

And that is why many got offended with the gamer in the video talking about sex. Many gamers try so hard to not fall under the typical gamer stereotype that they become the same 'puritans' from places like Fox News, accusing games of being a bad thing (in this case, certain games) that they don't see the disservice they do. They just help to perpetuate the stereotypes, while creating an even more obnoxious one, the 'holier-than-thou' gamer, the one who just play 'tasteful games' while despise any game who aren't political correct to the extreme. Honestly, I prefer the 'horny male gamer' stereotype. At least it seems more honest.

I have always defended that games should create more variety, not that games must have some kind of censorship just to avoid to piss off some groups. Yes, I want sensible female leads in games and that they have at least as equal space as the silly sexy ones. But I do not want to see the day were games becomes so afraid of offending someone that all games become as boring as most TV shows are today.

I think Lollipop Chainsaw have the right to exist. The video who sparked this controversy have the right to exist. Censorship is never, ever the answer. it solves nothing, just hide the problem under the carpet. And while gamers have the right to be genuinely offended by this game, I want them to be offended within reason, not just to look like the 'political correct gamer'.

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